Written By Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)
It does not seem like that long ago, just 60 days in fact, since the Hoosiers were in action on the gridiron. But congratulations, you have successfully navigated another January and February without Indiana Football. The wait is finally coming to an end. Spring practice opened Saturday for the Hoosiers, but your first chance to see the team will be at 1:30pm Sunday afternoon inside Memorial Stadium, prior to the hoops matchup between Indiana and Maryland. This is a golden opportunity to see many of the newcomers who look to make an impact this coming fall.
Richard Lagow, QB
With the departure of one of the program’s all-time greats at quarterback Nate Sudfeld, the first name on everyone’s list to keep an eye on is the gunslinger from Texas, Richard Lagow. Coming to Bloomington by way of a lot of places, most recently Cisco (Texas) Community College, Lagow looks to be exactly what the doctor ordered to help maintain the status quo on offense. Standing at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, he certainly fits the bill from the look standpoint. Rated as the number one pocket passing junior college quarterback by ESPN, he threw for 2,285 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2015. While there’s little doubt the Lagow has studied the playbook vigorously and worked with with Hoosiers receiving corps since arriving on campus back in December, the next few weeks serve as an excellent opportunity to immerse himself further into the Indiana offense. While Sunday may not provide a ton in terms of demonstrating how far along Lagow is, you can still see first hand his arm strength and accuracy.
Camion Patrick, RB
When you see number six toting the ball on Sunday you might experience a little deja vu, but that’s not Tevin Coleman, that’s possibly the next great player at tailback for the Hoosiers, Camion Patrick. Patrick arrived on campus last summer by way of East Mississippi Community College, but was deemed ineligible for the 2015 season. Nonetheless, the Knoxville, Tennessee native made his impact felt, wowing coaches and players alike while performing duties on the scout team and he is chomping at the bit to put his skills on display for Hoosier Nation. While not entirely fair to put him in the same air as Tevin Coleman or Jordan Howard quite yet, there has been some indication that he could be as good or better than both. I guess we are putting the rest of the Big Ten on notice, because it looks like the Hoosiers have another game-changer in the backfield.
Jayme Thompson, S
Another junior college transfer looking to make his presence felt right away is safety Jayme Thompson. The Hoosiers are in desperate need of help on the backend of their defense, and the Ohio native looks to be a player who could have an instant impact. He, much like Lagow, has logged the miles before getting to Indiana, starting his career out with the Buckeyes before spending two seasons at Iowa Western Community College. Again, it’s much too early to name him the savior of the secondary, but his size, 6-foot-2, 188-pounds, makes him a compelling match to place alongside Freshman All-Big Ten safety, Jonathon Crawford. Both appear to have the run-stuffing ability as well as the much-needed coverage skills to compete against the high-powered offenses in the Big Ten East.
Wesley Green, CB
The Hoosiers return multiple options at corner this season, but the one player we have yet to see tested at the position is the South Carolina transfer, Wesley Green. The former four-star has added 8 pounds to his frame since arriving in Bloomington, which will certainly be of benefit against some of the bigger, more physical wide receivers in the Big Ten, not to mention in practice against the likes of the big-bodied Simmie Cobbs and Nick Westbrook. As mentioned, Coach Shelby tried out numerous players at the corner position last fall opposite of Rashad Fant, but because of injuries and lack of production, no one really stuck. Is Green potentially the answer there, or will he provide depth behind Fant? Only time will tell, but Sunday will provide a brief glimpse of what coverage skills he has during one-on-ones.
Ja'Merez Bowen, DL
The final player on our list will be hard to miss, 6-foot-4, 310-pound Cincinnati transfer Ja’merez Bowen. Arriving on campus prior to fall camp, the Ohio native started his career out on the offensive side of the ball. However, the Indiana coaching staff identified a need along the defensive line and pegged Bowen as a solid candidate. With the graduation of Adarius Rayner and the early departure of Darius Latham, there is plenty of playing time to go around and Bowen has a grand opportunity to show new Associate Head Coach Tom Allen and Defensive Line Coach Mark Hagen that he possesses the desired size and skill they are looking for upfront. Again, Bowen probably will likely not be bringing anyone down, but it will be interesting to see how he moves through drills.
The list does not end there however, because there are some old faces in semi-new places. Zeke Walker is back as a defensive back, a strong candidate for the Husky position and Donovan Hale is listed at quarterback, after spending some time at wide receiver this past season. Beyond those two there are numerous players shifting from the standup Bandit position to a more hand on the ground position, Greg Gooch and Nile Sykes both look to make that transition. Regardless of who you keep an eye on come Sunday afternoon, enjoy the fresh air and look forward to continued in-depth coverage from Hoosier Huddle.